WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Contracts to buy U.S. previously owned homes fell for a second straight month in October as an acute shortage of properties pushed up prices, though the housing market remains supported by record low mortgage rates.
The National Association of Realtors said on Monday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, decreased 1.1% to 128.9. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast pending home contracts, which become sales after a month or two, would rebound 1.0% in October.
Compared to a year ago, pending homes sales jumped 20.2% in October. The monthly decline in contracts suggests a moderation in sales of existing home sales after they accelerated in October to their highest level since November 2005.
The housing market is being driven by record low mortgage rates. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen at least 21% of the labor force working from home,